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The most important thing I did at Barnard was grow into the woman I wanted to be

Student Perspective - Anna Ziering

Last weekend was a little weird for me. I realized, while sitting on a panel for the Admitted Students Weekend on Sunday, that it had been exactly four years since I sat in a panel audience in that same room and decided to come to Barnard. While eating lunch on the lawn today, I had a distinct flashback to sitting under the library overhang with my parents and feeling completely overwhelmed by Barnard and college and life in general. I remember that the four years stretched out unimaginably, and I couldn’t picture September of 2007, let alone May of 2011.

I recognize that most of my writing on this blog has been about the incredibly fast way that time has passed at college – I hope I’m not boring you. But as a point of reference, let me tell you that I have two weeks of class left, I’m turning in my senior thesis on Thursday, and after that my only other assignment in college is one seminar paper. In less than a month, I’ll be giving a speech and receiving my diploma at Grant’s Tomb, then sitting on the Columbia lawn with all the University graduates to celebrate our four years here.

In those four years, I’ve had so many experiences that it’s impossible to talk about them all, or even all the important ones. I studied in London for five months and got stranded in Florence alone because I was traveling when the volcano erupted in Iceland. I stumbled into a packed American Studies class, sat on the floor, and found a new major and a great professor that I’m planning to get coffee with as soon as I turn in my thesis. I wrote some poems and some papers, then some more poems and more papers, then a book of poems and a sixty-page thesis. I ran three overnight conferences for high school students who are in Gay-Straight Alliances. I made great friends.

But the most important thing I did at Barnard was grow into the woman I wanted to be. I didn’t choose Barnard because it was going to be easy – I chose it because it was going to challenge me. And I hoped those challenges would help me build myself into a strong, mature, confidence person by the time I graduated. Barnard lived up to my hopes for it, and helped me live up to my goals for myself.